Repeatability of Measurements and Shrinkage after Skinning: the Case of the Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor

Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor) Science Article 8


In studies on avian systematics and ecology, data from birds in museum collections are often used. Therefore, it is very important to test how representative such material is. However, museum specimens are usually handled, preserved and kept in different ways, which complicates the comparative use of measurements taken. Birds can be frozen, freeze-dried and skinned in the traditional way. The last way is most widely used in museum collections and the measurements of skins are widely used in handbooks. However, different specialists take measurements, e.g. taxonomists, parasitologists, ecologists, etc. We simulated this situation in practice and compared the measurements of five persons working on the same material-fifty skins of the Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor. Because the material (bird skins) was also measured at a fresh stage, we estimated the shrinkage ratio of skins under museum conditions, as well.

Lechosaw Kuczyski, Piotr Tryjanowski, Marcin Antczak, Maciej Skoracki & Martin Hromada, Bonner zoologische Beitrage Band 51 (2002) 2/3, 127-130

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